By Amit Bapna, APAC editor-at-large

April 19, 2023 | 6 min read

The P&G laundry brand is exploring the subconscious bias of gender roles with the latest iteration of its award-winning ‘Share The Load’ campaign. Now in its sixth year, the campaign explores the impact of the load to examine whether laundry and relationship issues are related.

Ariel, one of India’s leading laundry brands, has launched the latest edition of its internationally lauded ‘Share The Load’ campaign.

The ‘See the Signs, Share The Load’ campaign, conceptualized by BBDO India, explores the impact of years of unequal distribution of chores on relationships.

The campaign, in its now-famous problem-solution format, urges more men to ‘Share The Load’ for an equal and happy marriage. It is part of the brand’s strategy to drive change, says Sharat Verma, the chief marketing officer of P&G India and vice-president of fabric care for the Indian subcontinent.

“With Ariel ‘Share The Load’, we want to spark meaningful conversations to help drive the change. We listen in to what consumers are talking about, join those conversations and help in amplifying them to strike meaningful conversations.“

In the latest film, Ariel ponders whether the years of inequitable distribution of household chores are driving an emotional distance between partners. The campaign is built off research which found 65% of women feel an emotional distance from their spouse, which is leading to a breakdown of communication between partners.

This insight is brought to life in the film, which shows how the woman taking the burden of household work entirely on herself leaves her stressed and gradually disconnected from the relationship.

“Men often think that they will get done with other things first outside, achieve what they have to achieve, and then come back to the relationship and fix it, but it doesn’t always work like that,“ says Verma.

The 4-minute film traverses the journey of an elderly couple and their evolving relationship over time until one day the husband realizes that a silent separation has crept in.

Speaking with his daughter, who is able to identify and unravel the signs of the distance between her parents, she explains that the impact of all the work that the mother has had to do without much help could be the reason for the growing distance.

The father recognizes the issues and his role in the situation and decides to make amends immediately to help rebuild the relationship. The ending shows them being back as a happy couple, sharing a cup of tea, as the other permanent fixture of all ‘Share the Load’ films – the washing machine – continues doing its brand job in the background.

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Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer at BBDO India, says the latest edition of ‘Share The Load’ is an eye-opener for married couples and for the younger generation, where a growing section of men are discovering they have lost out on their relationship but don’t know why.

“It is a hidden truth that no one is talking about,“ says Paul.

While there is no data to corroborate that the issue is an outcome of the pandemic, which forced people to be together for long periods without a break, Paul admits it is the first time the issue has emerged in the brand’s research, which it has been undertaking since the ‘Share The Load’ platform began.

The seminal work by the Procter & Gamble brand has been continually recognized both in India and across the globe since it first launched in 2015.

Over the years, the campaign has won more than 10 awards at Cannes, including the Gold Lions in 2015, 2016 and 2017. It has also won multiple Grand Prix and Golds at Spikes Asia. It was ranked the world’s most effective campaign by Warc two years in a row – in 2017 and 2018.

As the platform has evolved over the years, it has continued to focus on deep listening and unraveling the prevalent social tensions in society and showcasing them so more and more people can help join in the conversation and address the issues.

According to Paul, this deep listening process commences six months before work begins, which is a luxury in the current fast-paced industry. “A lot of product and performance marketing will not give an agency that kind of time, especially in today’s times,“ he adds.

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